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The Coming of the Maori

The Flood

The Flood

At some time in the mythical period, a great flood occurred which received the name of Parawhenuamea. The name applied to the flood is the name applied to the personification of water and it seems apt enough. White (104, vol. 1, p. 172) has recorded a curiously detailed account of this event derived from a Ngaitahu source. It states that as men multiplied into many tribes, they forgot the worship of Tane, and evil prevailed everywhere. Parawheunuamea and his father were righteous men who tried to keep up the worship of Tane but the people jeered at and cursed them. They saw it was hopeless so they felled a totara and a kahikatea (both indigenous to New Zealand) and made a raft (moki). On it they put fern root, sweet potato, and dogs. They prayed for rain to convince the people of the power of Tane. It rained for four or five days and the waters rose so that the raft was floated away on the river Tohinga. All the men, women, and children who had denied the doctrines of Tane were drowned. The raft floated about for eight months before the waters subsided. The flood named Parawhenuamea is old but if Jehovah is substituted for Tane and Noah for Parawhenuamea, we probably have the source of the Ngaitahu elaboration.